Sucker Punch shows up to the party again, and this time with even more goods. If a free multiplayer expansion to Ghost of Tsushima wasn’t enough, Ghost of Tsushima: Ikishima Island might be the biggest surprise of the year. An expansion of what I consider a personal Game of the Year in 2020, Ikishima looks to ante up the volume by multiple notches.
With an entirely new adventure clocking in with over a dozen hours of content, this is something I did not know I wanted, until it was here. Whether you own the original, or haven’t played the main game yet, Now is the perfect time to jump in, so let’s get to slashing, here’s Remote Play’s review of Ghost of Tsushima: Ikishima Island.
The Ikishima Island Expansion is a generous story slice that you can access after reaching Act 2 of the main campaign. It’s a new location with new quests and many new side activities. Jin Sakai discovers a new group of Mongols with a woman named the “Eagle” as their leader. They plan to invade Tsushima, but Jin goes to Ikishima island to prevent that from happening. Jin thus forms an alliance with the bandits so they can liberate Ikishima Island and take out the Eagle.
As for our policy here about no spoilers- this is where I’ll cut it. The story was great and the expansion didn’t overstay it’s welcome. Ikishima Island is a place of major significance for Jin. You’ll play through many flashback sequences as Jin will reconcile with his past and come to terms of what really happened before his father’s demise.
Onto the actual gameplay loop, Ikishima Island has many side activities like Haiku or bamboo strikes (like the main story). The new expansion also has new distractions like a 1v1 duel, archery challenges, and much more. Gameplay hasn’t changed much in the Director’s cut, but there are some cool new additions. While using the bow, you can really feel the haptics on the PS5 Dualsense. Ikishima island also has a new formidable enemy. The Shaman, a spear-wielding foe that will sing and buff all enemies around you. While it can be frustrating, I found it refreshing as it was something different.
For those of you expecting an entirely different game when it comes to mechanics, that’s not happening. This is an expansion after all. So what does that mean? This is the bread and butter parrying / risk / reward system you remember. Briefly, sword play is deliberate, risk based, and deadly. One wrong move, and your gone, or your foe. So play wisely.
Graphically, The PS5 Director’s Cut wasn’t a huge leap compared to the original game, but you’re still getting a game with stunning visuals. The PS5 Director’s Cut supports 4K and delivers a high quality image in motion. In terms of actual effects, the larger sphere of the game boils down to this: the game FEELS amazing. The framerate boost alone is transformative to the overall experience.
For the PlayStation 5, Sucker Punch has done an awesome job with some nice QoL additions. Load times are practically nonexistent, 3D audio is in full effect for those of you with a good set of cans, and lastly, and most importantly, the haptics are amazing.
In closing I’d like to mention something personal. During this review period, I was unfortunately hospitalized with COVID-19. It was a period where things took a darker turn, and the more important things in life started shifting into perspective. When I finally recovered, the first game I played was this very expansion, and for me, on a personal level, it was therapy. While game’s come and go, this point in my life, this year of my life, this part of my life isn’t something I can take for granted. Gaming has been my go-to for self reflection, growth, and now – mental wellness. Ikishima Island, might not be revolutionary, but the world it presented helped me escape the mundane and the sickness that would clog up my day to day thoughts. For that, I’d like to thank Sucker Punch, and PlayStation Studios.
A review code was provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions / Publisher: PlayStaion Studios
Release date: 20/08/2021
Platform: PS5 and PS4